WEATHER: CLOUDY IN THE MORNING, SUNNY IN THE AFTERNOON
I suddenly wanted to see the ocean in the middle of winter. Not the ocean filled with people, but lonely ocean. It was the middle of February in the northern country. New York would be very cold in winter, sometimes with a lot of snow, but it was fine. Most people would prefer Florida for beaches in winter. I’d love to enjoy the warm, calm and blue ocean in Florida, too, but that time I wanted to see rough and wild winter gray waves.
I had an idea where to go. The Hamptons, very luxurious area located at the eastern end of Long Island, where many celebrities would gather for upscale pool parties, socialization, and retreat on hot summer. The area had numerous gorgeous mansions. But the area would probably be empty on long cold winter.
I hadn’t visited The Hamptons before even the area was only about 90 miles (144 km) away from New York City. The area is known for heavy traffic congestion on summer because of poor highway system despite the richness; no Interstate Highway and only one major highway. Plus, Long Island Railroad has only 6-7 train services a day by talking 2.5-3 hours from New York. But the access to The Hamptons should be easy in winter because nobody would like to go.
I looked at the forecast and the following Saturday, February 20, would be very warm for the winter, 60 F (15.5 C). My friend, who also hadn’t been to The Hamptons, accepted to go to The Hamptons with me. That day was actually warmer than forecast around 65 F (18.3 C), even though the previous weekdays were very cold. We were really lucky even if I wanted to see the winter Atlantic Ocean.
THE PLACES WE VISITED IN THE HAMPTONS
We started from Southampton, the center of The Hamptons. The highways were smooth and we took only an hour and a half. Southampton was cloudy and a little colder than New York when we arrived.
While we were driving Hill Street before reaching downtown Southampton, we saw big mansions in large properties on both sides of Hill Street. They were what we wanted to see. There aren’t many big mansions like those in and around New York City. We parked our car near downtown and took a walk on Hill Street to see the estates. Will I see a day to be able to live in a large mansion like those?
Then we walked around Main Street. Some people who looked like tourists were walking on Main Street. The downtown wasn’t empty, unlike our expectation. Downtown Southampton was known as an art district, but we mainly looked around buildings in the neighborhood.
After taking lunch inside of our car at a gas station (my friend brought picnic boxes), we went to see the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, the sky got beautifully clear by the time we arrived the beach, and the temperature was warmer than the morning. There was a lake named Agawam Lake in front of beach parking area. Only huge mansions surrounded the lake! Bigger than those along Hill Street.
We weren’t only ones on the beach. A few people and dogs enjoyed the temporary warm day on the sand, but very quiet. Only the sound of winds. The ocean waves were rough and wild as expected despite the good weather. That was the view I wanted to see! My wish was fulfilled. We enjoyed at the beach for a while.
I wanted to go to Montauk, the eastern edge of Long Island famous for a historic lighthouse, but my request was declined by my friend with the reason “too far away” (about an hour away from Southampton, meaning would take about 3 hours on the way to home). So I chose Sag Harbor, 30 minutes north of Southampton. I didn’t have a specific reason to pick Sag Harbor. I just remembered the town’s name when I arranged a client’s trip before, and the town seemed nice when I searched.
The view along with the road to Sag Harbor, Scuttle Hole Road, was amazing. Beautiful mansions appeared in the hilly countryside. Authentic vineyards and wineries were along the narrow country road. And peaceful green forests and field made the scene peaceful and mysterious. I wish I could take some scenery photos but we couldn’t park our car because the road was narrow and had no space to park on the side. Well, memory is always the best picture!
Sag Harbor was more laid back than Southampton, although that was still an upscale place. Sag Habor had a different characteristic with Southampton. First, Sag Harbor downtown had more people walking and stores than Southampton. Streets were narrower and houses were smaller but prettier in Sag Harbor than Southampton. Sag Harbor was literary a harbor town while Southampton was a beach town. And I felt Sag Harbor was more artistic than Southampton. There were some good antique stores and a movie theater. My friend liked Sag Harbor better than Southampton while I liked both places.
Probably the highlight was soon after leaving Sag Harbor to home. A beautiful sunset over a bay called Noyack Bay. We had to park our car at a small beach and enjoyed the sunset. Some bypass drivers were doing same. The trip was definitely better than our expectation.